Southwest Florida sales prices climb to highest levels of 2021 in November.  Official sales numbers were just released and the median price of a rose to $376,500 while the average price rose $533,697.  This represents a 18.0% and 26.3% price increase respectively.

Sales Prices Climb to Highest Levels of 2021

The median price last November was $319,150.  In October 2021 it was $368,000.  The median price rose 2.31% last month alone.  The average price last November was $422,452.  Average price rose over $111,000 in the past year and it rose 6.56% in the past month.

Sales Prices Climb to Highest Levels

As you can see, prices are still appreciating rapidly.  Inventory is down 38.6% from last year and declined 5.08% in the last month.  Sales are doing well, inventory is falling, and prices are rising rapidly.  Our market couldn’t be hotter, and yet it seems somebody said something like that last month.  The truth is, the market is hot, and it could get hotter.

Florida is where everyone wants to be.  We have always been known for sun, sand, beach, palm trees, and moderate year-round temperatures.  Who wouldn’t want that?  Lately Florida has also been known for low Covid numbers, low taxes, and low government mandates which is enticing to people who want to enjoy their lives or run a business.  We are seeing customers move here from practically every state.  Of course, some states stand out more than others.

What Will 2022 Bring?

We don’t see much change coming in 2022.  People love how Florida is run, and that looks to remain.  What we cannot predict is how other states will govern in the coming years.  Florida will continue to see a tax and climate advantage.  For the reasons and the leadership reason we expect the Florida real estate market to continue its journey in 2022.

Of course, we will keep our eye on the overall economy, interest rates, and political changes.  All these factors have led to a Florida advantage, and any changes would need to be evaluated. If the phone calls we are receiving from out of state buyers are any indication, 2022 is going to be another good year.

We are also hearing that people are flying into SW Florida in masses again.  In fact, the airport has released statements that there are no parking spaces available. People are having to drive in circles until spaces open.  This tells us more people have moved to SW Florida in the past year as I don’t recall this issue before.  It makes sense because the roads seem busier this year too.

Best SW Florida Real Estate Online Search Engine

We don’t have to prove how great things are in Florida.  The numbers speak for themselves.  If you are interested in buying, now would be a great time.  Prices are doing well, and as interest rates rise the mortgage payments will only go up.  The best website to search for new listings is www.LeeCountyOnline.com It is updated every few minutes and has the latest listings, unlike some of the other websites.

It is also a good time to sell.  Prices are at their highest.  Many sellers do not even realize how much their home is worth.  One of the best websites to check your value is www.SWFLhomevalues.com.  It has the most accurate data we have found.  While no computer estimate will ever be 100% accurate, this website is one of the best.  Regardless of the price, it will remind you of your new price going forward, so you can keep track of the direction of the market.

If you have questions about the market, give Sande or Brett Ellis a call at 239-610-3500  We can show you how we get Top Dollar for our listings.  If you are a buyer, we might have a new listing coming on the market you might want to know about.  Our team is a great resource in SW Florida.

Happy New Year!  Let’s make 2022 your year!

Each week we give you our insight and analysis on the housing market and the economy. We talk about the factors that will influence the Southwest Florida real estate market.  This week we thought it would be fun to research top housing expert predictions for 2022 on the national level.  Keep in mind, local markets may vary, and our sources are from a wide range of experts and data sources.

The National Association of Realtors conducted a study of 20 top economic and housing experts and issued a report.  We will use this report and several other expert predictions and hopefully a consensus will form.

The NAR report from 20 experts predicts home prices will climb 5.7% in 2022 while inflation will tame and settle in at 4% for the year. The group predicted the Fed will raise their rates twice in 2022 by .25% each time.  Just this past week the Fed announced it is looking at increasing rates three times in 2022.  If the Fed follows through with three rate hikes, this will exceed this group’s predictions. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR predicts 30-year mortgage rates will rise to 3.5%.  We have seen other predictions that suggest 3.6% to 3.7% recently.

Yun predicts about 6 million sales in 2021 and about 5.9 million in 2022.  Rising rates may stall home sales, but they are still predicting price gains.

Another article from Fortune Magazine studied 7 forecast models for 2022.    The article quotes Zillow predicts a 13.6% price gain from October 2021 to October 2022 while Goldman Sachs predicts 16% between October 2021 and December 2022. Additional article from Forbes Magazine with Top Housing Experts Predictions for 2022.

The reason for their rosy outlook stated demand outpacing supply and no letup in millennial home buying growth. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are predicting 7.9% and 7% price gains respectively.  Redfin and CoreLogic see price gains of 3% and 1.9% in 2022.

More articles quote more sources, so there seems to be no shortfall of predictions.  The consensus seems to be more price gains in 2022 to varying degrees, increased interest rates and borrowing costs for buyers, and inflation.  Builders are still going to build, but not fast enough.  Hopefully supply chain issues will abate in 2022.

All these articles sort of prove the point that now is a good time to buy or sell.  Prices are likely to go up along with borrowing costs, so it is definitely advantageous for buyers. Sellers may finally have enough equity to move on to their next home.  Prices have risen enough to make some sellers want to move.

No matter whether you’d like to buy or sell, or both, the Ellis Team at Keller Williams has tools to help you.  I met with a seller the other day that needs to sell before he can buy, but he’s afraid of being homeless and not finding a property.  I told him about a program that allows him to purchase a home first, then put his home on the market and only pay one mortgage payment.  This way he can find a home that suits his needs and purchase it without having to sell.  He can then move in a relaxed atmosphere and have time to sell his existing home, all with one low payment.

If you are thinking of selling, there are solutions.  For other sellers we have been able to negotiate delayed occupancy after closing to allow time to purchase a different home and move out.

If you are contemplating selling but don’t know how you could do it, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-310-6500.  If you are just curious as to your home’s value, check out www.SWFLhomevalues.com for a fast and free computer estimate.

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

Twas the week before Christmas, Santa couldn’t find a house. Sellers are absent, quiet as a mouse. We could have fun re-writing this timeless poem, but I think you get the point.

The real question is, what will Santa bring this year to the real estate market?  We’ve got some answers.

Twas the Week Before Christmas

First off, Santa thinks sellers have been good this year and will reward them.  There is a buyer under every tree, maybe several.  There is nothing better than opening several presents to see which one you like best.  Sellers will like their presents this year.

Buyers will be happy too.  Interest rates are still low while rents are going up.  For those buyers that have saved and prepared their credit, Santa will reward you too.  Buyers who buy before rates go up will save money, plain and simple.  We expect home prices to continue to rise in 2022 as will interest rates.  The sooner you buy the better off you will be as a buyer.  Santa will reward smart shoppers.

Buyers are in competition with other buyers, not so much the seller.  We have more buyers here in SW Florida than sellers, and more are on their way.  We do not anticipate enough sellers to meet the demand for buyers moving here.  Builders cannot build fast enough to meet this demand either.

This is one of those rare instances where it is good for both buyers and sellers at the same time.  When interest rates rise, it will not be as good for buyers. Additionally, as demand continues to increase, it puts further pressure on prices. Buyers could get hit with rising prices and rising rates.

Traditionally when interest rates rise it puts a damper on home buyer activity.  This is because cost of ownership rises for the buyer and limits how much they can pay. What is different this year is more people want to move to Florida for various reasons we’ve talked about in previous articles. 2022 may be a year where we see rising interest rates and continued rise in home prices.

The rate of increase may be slowed, and a lot will depend on the economy and the rate in which people continue to choose to move to Florida. There are wildcards in this formula, so nobody can tell you exactly what will happen or at what pace.

All we can do is tell you what our feeling is on the matter based on what we are seeing today. If you are a buyer and wish to keep up with the real estate market in real-time, we have the website for you. Our website is updated from the MLS every few minutes, so you have the timeliest information anywhere.

Check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com No more looking at homes that sold and closed or missing out on new listings.  That is frustrating! Or call our buyer hotline at 239-489-4042

Sellers, you are in for a treat too. Our seller website www.SWFLhomevalues.com will give you a Free and instant home price, and the system will tell you how accurate it feels by the confidence score.  Of course, Sande and Brett Ellis are available to evaluate your home and talk about the process, so you get the best advice possible.  Call Sande or Brett at 239-310-6500 

We hope you enjoy the holiday season, regardless of which faith you are. We used Santa as an example as most people identify with Santa without regard to faith.

May your blessings be bountiful this holiday season. Always call the Ellis Team with your real estate questions. We will defer to Santa on where to buy everything else.

Happy Holidays!

Experts are expecting three interest rates hikes in 2022 by the Fed. This is in addition to tapering of bond purchases which should end in the 2nd quarter of 2022 if not sooner. What this means is borrowing costs for consumers is going to go up in 2022.  A 1% rise in interest rates equates into a11% decrease in purchasing power for buyers.

Three Interest Rate Hikes Expected in 2022

How will this decrease in purchasing power affect the local SW Florida real estate market? In the old days we would say it would directly impact the market. Today we say it is an influence.  Market forces affect the market and tried and true economic indicators are not as significant as they once were.

Law of Supply and Demand

The law of supply and demand is still applicable.  It is called a law for a reason, because it is always true.  Yes, rising interest rates can taper demand from home buyers that are financing.  What it cannot predict is how many homebuyers will be in the area looking, and how financially stable they are.

For instance, we could see an influx of higher end home buyers seeking to purchase with a mortgage. If we have enough of them, the demand can still outpace supply, even if some home buyers qualify for less. Secondly, we must not forget about cash buyers who are less affected by interest rates. I say less affected because they may be affected by homebuyers purchasing another property they may own to generate the cash.

Last year home prices took off in October. The average sales price rose 4.72% in one month from September 2020 to October 2020. The median price rose 3.09% last year in October. This October the average price rose 5.16% over September and the median rose 3.30% Both 2021 measures eclipsed what we saw in 2020.

What is different about 2021 is that we have a decrease in inventory supply of 39.3% heading into these months. In October 2021 we had 1,770 single family homes on the market compared to 2,918 last year.

Three Interest Rate Kikes Expected in 2022

On the one hand we should see rising interest rates that would suggest a moderating of home prices.  On the other hand, demand for homes in Florida has never been greater and more people are moving here than ever before. Which market force will outduel the other? The logic seems to think increasing demand will win out.

Who loses in this market? First-time homebuyers will face significant obstacles.  Already many are being outbid by buyers paying cash or putting significant down payments into the deal.  Rising rates will only exacerbate their situation. People on fixed income or salaried workers without extra cash down payments will be hurt as well. They will have a hard time competing against buyers coming into the state with more money to spend.

Inflation will hurt the average homebuyer as well. They may see a 3% raise all the while everyday costs are going up 6-10%.  This is before factoring in a 11% decrease in purchasing power from rising interest rates. The real estate market may survive and thrive, but pain can be felt from those left out of the process.

Rents have gone through the roof, so the cost of living is definitely higher regardless of whether people purchase or rent.  I truly believe buyers should buy now, even if the home is not their dream home.  It will protect them against rising rents and inflation. As cost of materials to build go up, owning a home can be a hedge against inflation and protect homeowners. The non-perfect home you buy today may be the steppingstone for your next home in the future.

We have a team of experts that can help you find your dream home or steppingstone home now to avoid the costly interest rate hikes coming next year.  Call us at 239-489-4042 or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com. If you are interested in selling, call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-310-6500 or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com

The Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index accumulates data from financed home purchases using Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as their source. The FHFA HPI shows the Cape Coral Fort Myers housing market as the #2 fastest rising prices year over year, and #1 fastest rising in the past quarter.

In other words, home price appreciation is not slowing down in the Cape Coral Fort Myers housing market. Both cities are lumped into an MSA, so therefore you will see it labeled as Cape Coral Fort Myers housing market.

Florida ranked #5 out of all states, and Florida scored 8 out of the top 28 spots nationwide.

Cape Coral Fort Myers Housing Prices Rising Fastest in Country

 

Why is Florida doing so well? People are attracted to Florida for a variety of reasons. Of course year-round sunshine, moderate temperatures, beaches, golfing, fishing, boating are the usual things you hear about Florida. Lately it is more than that.

In the past 5 years people have been moving to Florida for lower taxes, police protection, remote work, and less mandates. Entire companies have decided to relocate to Florida as well as induvial families and workers.

Is there a Bubble? Prices rise when there is more demand than supply. We do not see demand slowing down anytime soon. In fact, it feels like it is accelerating. Sometimes it takes companies years to make a relocation happen, and some of these have been planned 3-5 years ago and we are just now seeing them come to fruition.

We do not have enough supply. Builders are building as fast as they can, but they cannot keep up. Supply chain issues have only made it worse.  Demand is picking up and supply is getting worse. In this mathematical equation there is only one way for prices to move, and it is up.

Other parts of the country are talking about a slowdown in growth. The key word there is growth. Prices are still rising, just not as fast. In Florida, we have seen an uptick in growth. Everyone that moves to Florida is moving from somewhere else.

We have not even hot season yet, and recently we just opened our borders to Canada. You will notice our roads are a lot busier now too. Demand is accelerating. Supply is not.

Some fear a new Covid variant may damper the economy. It might. Keep in mind when Covid originally hit Florida became popular. If a new variant were to become rampant, who is to say Florida wouldn’t attract even more?

Right now, it seems Florida wins no matter what happens. Can unforeseen circumstances change all this? Sure, anything is possible. All we are saying is the old rules of work and where people want to live have changed, and Covid has sped that thought process up.

If you are a buyer and hesitant to pull the trigger because you hear the market may fall, you might be in for a rude awakening. We do not see any apparent signs today this market is in a bubble, in fact to the contrary.

We have some excellent tools to keep up on the market. Our seller website www.SWFLhomevalues.com gives Free and Fast home value reports. Our buyer website www.LeeCountyOnline.com shows you the latest listings and is updated within minutes.  No more looking at old listing data or missing out on hot new properties.  Our websites are the best in the business and keep you informed in a fast-moving market.

If you are thinking of selling, call Brett or Sande at 239-310-6500 and we’ll be happy to show you how we can get you Top Dollar through our advanced marketing nationwide.

If you are a buyer simply trying to score a property, call our buyer hotline at 239-489-4042 and we will get you a buyer agent fast and on track to getting your next home.

Good luck and Happy real estate shopping!

A recent survey by Realtor.com revealed there are more sellers ready to list their home in 2022 than 2021.  Many sellers were waiting out the pandemic.

Sellers Ready to List Their Home in 2022

Of the sellers ready to make a move in 2022, 65% plan to do so in the next 6 months. Sellers have noticed price gains have slowed which may be prompting the timing in the next 6 months.  More than 1/3 have already researched the value of their home. One of the best places to research the value of your home online is www.SWFLhomevalues.com.  It is not a substitute for an experienced real estate agent or appraisal, but it is one of the best places to start online for Free.

Many Sellers Want Different Features

Many sellers spent more time in the home due to Covid. Last spring, 15% wanted different features in their home. Now that they’ve spent more time in their home, that number has increased to 33%.

Of the sellers planning to list, 42% plan to list for more than they think property is worth. 29% will want a quick closing, so future sellers will have different motivations. Ultimately the market will determine the value, but the seller will set the price.

This was a national survey, and we all know real estate is local. While this may be an indication of how sellers are feeling, what happens in SW Florida may be different.

Best Time Ever to Sell?

We believe now is the best time it has ever been to be a seller. Technically 3 months ago might have been better, but some prices have still drifted upward, and sellers today are no worse off by waiting. 3 to 4 months ago we had more offers per listing, and that drove the price up. You don’t need 25 offers per property today because the price has already been driven up and is not falling. The bidding wars in the past did the dirty work for sellers. Sellers just need enough buyers to maintain what was achieved months ago, and so far, that is the case.

Increasing Demand

Going forward, we see increasing demand. This increased demand may outpace increased supply from sellers which could further drive our market. Many businesses have made the decision to relocate to Florida. Some of these decisions were made in the last few years, and some are being made today.  These relocations take time and do not happen overnight. Someday the rest of the country’s real estate market could cool down while Florida remains hot.

We are astounded at how many buyers are coming in from other states. These are not retirement buyers; they are buyers moving here permanently and working here. They are moving their family here and deciding Florida is not only a nice place to work but also a nice place to live.

Registrations on www.LeeCountyOnline.com have increased. These are people looking for homes. Some are here renting or living with relatives and others are flying here to buy a home to relocate. Having one of the most popular real estate websites in SW Florida allows us to see buyer activity in real-time and witness trends. These national surveys are interesting, and we love to report on them, but they just confirm what we are seeing online.

Sellers Ready to List Their Home

If you own a property in SW Florida and want to know the latest trends in the market, schedule a call with Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-310-6500 We can discuss what we are seeing and how this affects you and your home value.

If you are a buyer, call our home buyer hotline at 239-489-4042 to be connected with a buyer specialist who can help you purchase a property. Our agents are experienced, and experience counts. Unfortunately, we see buyers losing out to other buyers because the agent representing them didn’t have the experience to counsel their buyer on what it takes to write a winning offer. It is not always the highest price offer that wins. Relationships matter too. The Realtor you hire matters now more than ever.

We are here to answer your real estate questions. Good luck, and Happy Selling!

Rivalry Weekend Bet

Is it just me or does it seem like everybody is asking about future home price appreciation rates for SW Florida? Maybe it’s because we are in real estate, but it does seem to be a topic discussed more often.

Future Home Price Appreciation Rates for SW Florida

It is dangerous to predict where the market will go. It tends to go where it wants to regardless of where you want it to or think it should. Zillow recently admitted it cannot predict future home price appreciation rates. If a big company cannot do it, why would anyone think they can?

The truth is nobody can. And yet, all of us have a lot more knowledge than Zillow and could probably do a better job. They tried to analyze home values and future prices on a national scale, and we all know real estate is local. There are some factors in play we have never seen before, so some of the traditional economic truths may not apply 100%.

Positive Factors

The truth is, Florida is desirable to many people across America, like never before. We have always been desirable in terms of sunshine, weather, and no state income tax. Today, it is much more than that.

We are not taking any political stand. All we can do is report what we hear buyers saying.  Buyers moving to Florida feel Governor DeSantis is a rock star and they appreciate the way Florida has handled lockdowns, mandates, and taxes.  I am sure we do not hear from some buyers who would never move here because they disagree, however the net migration into the state speaks for itself.  Going forward, we do not see this changing, and this is a plus for Florida’s housing market.

Florida is open for business and businesses are choosing to move here. We are seeing businesses and work from home families moving to Florida, and this trend should continue as well.

Interest rates are still low. Low rates are good for real estate markets.

Negative Factors

Rates are expected to rise. Rising rates cost the buyer purchasing power, so in a balanced market that eventually effects sellers. We are not in a balanced market or even close to it now.

Vaccine mandates are causing people to lose their jobs.  If the mandates stick in the courts, this could eventually trim the buyer pool as they must live off savings.  Already we are hearing about US savings accounts ballooning $4 Billion during the lockdown and that number is back to even now that stimulus has ended for unemployed in the lockdown.  This should force more to go back to work, and we saw signs of that in the latest jobs report.  If new mandates kick in January 4th, it could change the savings rates.

Inflation is like a hidden tax on consumers.  Many are seeing a rise in paychecks. Those gains are being eaten up by rising gas, food, shipping, housing, automobile, and virtually any other expense you can think of. Inflation is outpacing income.  As companies are forced to raise wages, it increases inflation even more. It is a never-ending cycle that must end, or it will not help the real estate market.

Predicting the Future

As you can see, predicting future home price appreciation rates was never easy, and with new forces in effect it is virtually impossible now.

We see interest rates rising in 2022 so that should be a motivating factor for buyers. We see good things for Florida for the next several years. The jury is still out for the rest of the country. We suspect many markets will do very well while some may lag. If buyers are waiting for home prices to fall off a cliff, they might be sorely disappointed. If sellers are waiting for another year of 20-30% price gains, they might be disappointed too.

When you are ready to buy or sell, Always Call Sande or Brett Ellis at the Elis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-310-6500  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to find your home’s value, or www.LeeCountyOnline.com to search the MLS like a pro.

Good luck, and Happy buying and selling!

Zillow iBuyer program shutting down due to many factors announced by the company.  The most glaring is they lost $422 million in the 3rd quarter of this year with expected future losses of $240-265 million in losses just from 4th quarter purchases.

Zillow iBuyer Program Shutting

It turns out scaling an iBuying business isn’t easy as easy as they predicted, and mistakes were made.  2/3 of homes listed by Zillow are listed at prices below what they paid for the homes they bought.  That is not a sustainable business model.  Realtors have complained that the Zillow Zestimate was not always a good judge of value, and it certainly wasn’t a good judge of future values.

Zillow announced it is laying off 25% of its workforce as a result.  Rich Barton CEO of Zillow commented that an unintended consequence of buying homes directly from buyers was the fact that 90% of buyers turned them down.  It wasn’t a pleasant experience angering customers, and that wasn’t the reason they went into this business.

So, what does Zillow leaving the iBuyer space mean to the rest of the market?  We have seen other companies attempt to duplicate Zillow and go on buying sprees.  With Zillow ending this program, will other iBuyers follow suit?

Locally we have worked with iBuyer companies, and not all of them performed by the contract.  Some have forfeited escrow deposits because they did not comply and refused to close.  As a seller, it is scary to think you go to contract and expect the buyer to perform, only to find out the buyer no longer wants the property because their analytics have changed.

Some sellers were willing to sacrifice price for certainty, and now that certainty is gone, how many sellers will be willing to sell at a reduced price?

Top Dollar Realtors

We always encouraged sellers to check with us before accepting an offer.  The Ellis Team is known as the Top Dollar Realtors, so if you are contemplating a sale with an investor or institutional buyer you want to know how much you are giving up for a quick sale.  The problem was for many sellers, they would go to contract at a certain price.  Investor would come back and change the price due to inspection items.  That signed contract no longer seemed like a good deal anymore.

We believe it is important to talk to us no matter who the buyer is.  Some agents are known for fast sales, but not necessarily Top Dollar.  In this market, you can have both, but you must be a skilled negotiator and smart about it.  Accepting an offer the same day may make some sense in certain situations, and not in others.

Each seller has different needs and objections.  Some want or need a fast sale while other want or need Top Dollar.  Like we said, in this market, both are possible, but it is a constant balancing act in some situations.

The Ellis Team Works Differently Than Most Realtors

Brett and Sande work differently than moist Realtors.  We take a counseling approach.  We seek to understand our clients needs and ask questions.  After learning what is most important to our clients, we can offer suggestions based on what we see happening in the streets.

This approach is not used by all, and certainly not in the iBuyer world.  In the iBuyer world, the buyer is your foe.  They want what you have at the least price they can get it for.  The less they pay the more profit when they flip.

Sande and Brett can guide you through the maze of options and discuss what is best for you.  Additionally, new real estate sales contracts went into effect November 1st, and there are some big changes. Working with a full-time Realtor is important, not only for getting Top Dollar, but for all the changes too.

Zillow made drastic changes to their business model, and they are a multi-billion-dollar company.  Don’t you think you need experts looking out for you in changing times?  Always Call the Ellis team 239-310-6500 to get your home sold fast and for Top Dollar, or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com  for the most accurate only price estimates.

Good luck, and Happy Selling!

Southwest Florida home sales prices stabilized in the 3rd quarter. Statistically, homes prices were neither increasing nor decreasing to end the quarter.

Home Sales Prices Stabilized

If you look at the graph, Southwest Florida is subject to seasonality in prices, and we are entering a time when home prices traditionally start climbing again. Covid threw a monkey wrench into the term seasonality.  For the past year and a half, it was hard to tell what season is anymore.

Borders Opening Up

Canadians are finally being allowed back in the country starting in November. While we have seen this announced before it has never really happened like they said. More buyers are flocking to Florida from other higher tax states, so it will be interesting to see how this affects demand going forward.

We are also watching inflation, interest rates, and supply chain issues. Home builders may find it difficult going forward to find components to build homes. Nationwide, we have a shortage of homes and Covid did not help builders build enough homes.  Now that we are seeing worsening supply chain issues, you must wonder what affect this will have on new home prices.

Of course, interest rates have been rising and are expected to rise in to 4% in 2022 by the Mortgage Bankers Association. Rates were about 2.75% not long ago. A 1% rise in rates robs a buyer about 11% purchasing power. When buyers can afford less, they don’t have as much money to bid on homes.

We have an influx of buyers flush with cash and large down payments moving to Florida. This is squeezing out some homebuyers from the process, but not necessarily all buyers and sellers are still getting their price. Instead of having 20-50 buyers bidding on each home we may only have 3-10.

Demand Outpaces Inventory Supply

The graph agrees with what we are seeing on the streets.  Many buyers feel like prices went up so much and they feel a correction is right around the corner.  Home buyers may be disappointed because demand is still stronger than supply. Yes, prices may have moderated and stabilized, but it does not mean prices must come down. In fact, Southwest Florida was undervalued for years and may not be more accurately valued.

The real question becomes, how does the national economy play out in the next year? The other important question is, how does Florida look business wise compared to other states? We cannot answer the first question, but we can tell you home buyers are voting with their pocketbooks.  The vote is in, and Florida is attractive enough to pack up everything and move here. We do not see this trend changing. If anything, it may be picking up steam.

Why Buy Now

As you can see, we have some wildcards in play, and if anyone can tell you how things will play out for certain, they are smarter than we are. What we can say is buyers should buy sooner rather than later, because waiting can cost you. We can also say prices may not come down. They could, but they could also increase due to higher costs and not enough supply.

Why Buy Real Estate Now

This truly is one of those rare moments in time where it can cost both buyer and seller to wait. If you’ve been thinking about making a move, now might be your ideal time. Call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-310-6500 and we can talk about your situation.

Or, visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to find out what your home is worth.  To search the MLS like a professional does, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com Our site is updated every few minutes, so you are looking at the best data.

 

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Recent flood insurance changes affect homeowners and buyers and sellers.  Changes went into effect October 1st and already we are seeing some fallout.  Please read this article carefully.  You may be affected, and we have some advice on how to lessen the pain of these changes, especially if you are in a transaction or contemplating one.

Insurance Changes Affect Homeowners and Transactions

 

Do Not Cancel Your Policy if it Goes Up

Whatever you do, do not cancel your policy because your insurance is going up.  Most will not see their rate increase until their renewal comes due.  If you live in an x zone where insurance is not required, do not cancel either.

Buyers can assume your policy.  Insurance agents have told me some policies have gone from about $1,600 to over $8,000.  The good news is for existing policies, rates can only increase 18% per year, and the buyer can assume.  If you cancel, buyer has to get a new policy, and this may make your home less desirable financially in a buyer’s eyes.

Elevation certificates are pretty much out the window.  If you have one, save it because it could possibly save you a little.  The difference is the National Flood Insurance Program has gone to satellite topography for risk ratings, much like the private insurance has.  They no longer use the elevation certificate to determine risk.

Gone are the days when everyone on the block pays about the same rate.  Newer homes that are built up higher will most likely pay less than the house next door that sits lower.

Your Sale Could be at Risk

Current transactions could be at risk.  Let’s say a buyer qualifies for a home at the top end at $500,000.  This includes interest, taxes, insurance, HOA fees, etc.  If the buyer qualified at their top end at $500k with flood insurance quoted last month at $1,000 and today the new quote is $4,000, the buyer may no longer qualify.

The good news is we work with insurance agents that have access to private flood companies in addition to NFIP.  Some agents don’t like to sell private insurance because they make less money than the national program, so we seek out insurance agents that will.  This service is valuable to our customers.

Even if a buyer assumes a policy and saves money today, eventually that property will see increases over time to adjust for the risk.  We can delay the rise, but over time it will occur.  At 18%, policies will double in price every 4 years until they reach their cap.

Insurance Figures Into Total Cost of Ownership

Much like buyers look at annual costs to join a golf course, buyers will now look at flood and homeowners’ insurance when determining total cost of ownership.  If the buyer is considering 4 homes and one of those homes is significantly less to insure, that may sway the buyer’s decision.  These costs are not a one-time event, they will go on forever.

When the Ellis Team is working with a buyer, we will call an insurance agent to get quotes on each home.  This will be critical to make sure the buyer qualifies for the loan.  If the buyer is paying cash, they still want to know what the property will cost them to insure.

Homeowner’s insurance companies have tightened up on what they will insure and what the rates will be. The main components insurance companies are looking at right now is age of roof, plumbing, electrical wiring and panels, water heater, and HVAC system.  If your home has a shingle roof over 10 years old, be prepared for rate adjustments or cancellations.  Your insurance agent may have other carriers that will insure shingle roof up to 15-20 years, but the rates may be higher.  We are seeing homeowners receive cancellation letters.

It Pays to Work wit a Professional

Buying and selling a home is a complex process.  It pays to work with professionals who know what they are doing.  Hiring a friendly Realtor you met at the ballgame might not be your best choice.

If you are a potential seller, call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-310-6500 We can guide you to your best decision.  Our buyer hotline is 239-489-4042  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get your home’s value instantly.

Good luck and be sure to or check with your insurance agent or call us for updates on what is happening.  We can recommend a good insurance agent if you need one.